Children, young people and families are extremely welcome at Christ Church Cathedral. They are a very important part of our congregation. We have a comprehensive program for children, young people and families, through which we work to build relationships with them, strengthen their relationships with each other, and help them journey deeper and deeper into the mystery and love of God.
The Cathedral offers Children’s ministry at both the 10.30am Choral Eucharist and 5.30pm St. Brigids Eucharist.
During the 10.30am Choral Eucharist
Children’s Church takes place during the 10:30 am service. It is intended to be for children in kindergarten through grade 7. These age boundaries are only guidelines, however: both younger and older children are welcomed.
Children begin Sunday mornings by gathering downstairs in the Godly Play space any time after 10:15. Children’s Church leaders will be there to welcome them and children engage in welcome activities or conversation while waiting for everyone to arrive. We begin right at 10:30.
Children’s Church follows the same pattern of the liturgy upstairs: gathering, hearing the word, responding to the word through reflection and activities, and prayer. We do this through Godly Play which is a Montessori-based faith-formation program. Godly Play uses beautiful, hand-crafted materials to share Scripture and stories of our faith tradition. After this we ‘wonder’ together about the story and deeper meanings. Children are then invited to choose a centre at which to enrich their Godly Play experience. Centres may include art, craft, writing, reading, and story-telling activities, as well as games and puzzles. We close with a time of silence and prayer as a group and the children come upstairs at approximately 11:20 to join their families and the whole community for Eucharist.
Some children prefer to stay upstairs with parents during the liturgy. There is a carpeted space designated for children at the front of the church, where there are opportunities for drawing, colouring, reading, playing games, and making puzzles in a quiet, respectful atmosphere.
During the 5.30pm St. Brigids Eucharist
Children and youth are a welcome part of the St Brigids circle. We are deepening ways to help children and youth connect with the liturgy and be part of the community by taking on active roles as they choose. For wee people, we provide a space in the circle with rugs, some quiet activities such as books, puzzles, creative materials and story materials. Please also feel free to bring some of your child’s favourite quiet activities, and snacks if they need them.
Every few weeks we have a Godly Play story for the whole community during the reflection time. This is an opportunity for intergenerational sharing and wondering together.
Special Space for Children
During both services, there is a carpeted space designated for children at the front of the church, where there are opportunities for drawing, colouring, reading, playing games, and making puzzles in a quiet, respectful atmosphere.
Children are invited to gather in this space for the beginning of the service (though they are most welcome to stay with their families until we depart for Children’s Church). When we come back from Children’s Church, the children are invited to rejoin their families for communion and then, should they so wish, rejoin us at our designated space at the front.
There is a family lounge in the lower level of the Cathedral (“The Lounge”) which is staffed throughout the service by qualified care-givers. Parents and guardians are welcome to leave their children there or to stay with them. If there are no child minders on a given Sunday, parents and their toddlers are welcome to use The Lounge as long as they remain there to supervise their child.
We welcome children to participate fully in communion.
Youth groups meet every other Friday, 6:30 – 9:00. Junior Youth (grades 4-7) meet one week, Senior Youth (high school) meets the alternate week. Both groups begin with a simple supper, then the program may include games and activities, spiritual formation, conversations, excursions (to other church groups or events around the city), guest speakers or special projects together. Please see the weekly “Chronicle” for schedule and details about current youth programming.
You will also find details about Confirmation classes, Youth retreats, Summer youth camps and more.
WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATES
Anne Kessler is the Cathedral’s Children, Youth, and Family Ministries Coordinator. She sends out regular emails with information about what’s going on for children, young people and families at the Cathedral. The emails are aimed specifically at families, including families with nursery-aged children. If you would like to receive these e-mails, just send a message to Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org.